Home > Games, My writing > Deep Black: Reloaded (PC Review)

Deep Black: Reloaded (PC Review)

Deep Black ReloadedOne of the first things you’ll notice, and never forget, about Deep Black is its lack of a run button. That might seem like an odd thing to mention first, but it’s the prime example of the many bad design choices that hinder enjoyment throughout the game. In itself the inability to run doesn’t sound like a huge issue. Surely if there’s no run button that means the game has been designed with that in mind, right? But a few hours into this third person shooter you’ll begin to wonder who said they didn’t need it.

The main characters default movement speed on land doesn’t feel especially slow on its own. When facing a group of enemies and trying to get to cover however, it feels like the most casual of walking speeds. A fact that is compounded by the extremely poor feedback on just how much damage you are taking. It’s remarkably inconsistent, leading to countless frustrating deaths when you suddenly die with little indication as to what killed you. It also doesn’t help that the button layout on a 360 controller is horribly unintuitive, requiring middle fingers on triggers and all sorts.

Shooting feels fine, if you’ve played any other third person shooter with cover in the last five years you’ll have no trouble getting a handle on it. The weapons themselves sound relatively beefy but they don’t feel it; with enemies taking a good 10 seconds to go down on the Normal difficulty setting. Then there’s the issue that cover often doesn’t fully protect you from gunfire. In a game where damage feedback is essentially broken, this leads far too many situations where you can do almost nothing to prevent death.

Checkpointing is poorly implemented too, resetting the action long before and tedious boss fight or cutscene. This situation is made worse by the fact you are often encouraged to explore, with ammo caches and weapons hidden away in side rooms or a branching path leading to a dead end.

If you do take the time to explore these areas, you will be rewarded with a path full of enemies upon going back the way you came. It’s a baffling design choice that will quickly discourage players from straying from the main path, for fear of repeating another annoying shootout.

Deep Black’s unique hook is in its underwater sequences, the cover system carries over here too. The Default movement speed underwater is immediately faster, on top of that you also have a boost. This allows you to get through some tougher currents and solve the occasional puzzle, as well as giving increased manoeuvrability during combat.

If there’s any fun to be had in Deep Black, it’s underwater. Swimming around feels great and your manoeuvrability leads to some much more fast paced and exciting fights than any of those on land. The maddening part though is that the underwater areas make up only about 30% of the game.

If one good thing can be said about Deep Black it’s that it looks great. Underwater sections especially are beautiful, again making it confusing why they aren’t the primary focus. Light passes through water beautifully, and seeing missiles streak through the water is a fantastic if mildly terrifying sight.

Gears of War with an underwater twist is clearly what developer Biart was going for here. Unfortunately a lack of polish, uninteresting combat and a long list of poor design choices mean they fall a long way short of that lofty goal.

Originally published on Square-Go.com

Categories: Games, My writing Tags: ,
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